The right to intimacy serves as both a realm of domination as well as a form of resistance under Israeli settler-colonialism.

By Izzeddin Araj, Mondoweiss

According to new rules that come into force on October 20, foreigners in the West Bank who fall in love with Palestinians must inform Israeli authorities of this romantic interest. This bizarre, nonetheless terrifying news is another testament to how Israel’s apartheid regime seeks to brazenly control our lives and bodies. For me as a Palestinian, it comes as no surprise.

Palestinian family

In fact, as many scholars have argued, Israel’s settler-colonial character precisely manifests through such a logic of entitlement – where the state seeks to dominate indigenous bodies and determine the ways they exist in the world – how they live, move, get sick and heal, and how they love and reproduce.

The idea that bureaucrats and officials feel entitled to determine every single aspect of Palestinian life (including whom we love and how we do that) is beyond the concept of control, it is about the institutionalization of a decades-long colonial fantasy about enslaving Palestinian bodies. This logic of entitlement has defined decades of oppression in Israel/ Palestine. Palestinians have long known this and therefore seem less shocked by the new rules. Over the course of my work on reproduction and intimacy politics in Palestine, I have visited several families wrenched apart by Israeli apartheid – children who have never met their fathers, bedrooms abandoned on the Israeli army’s orders, and partners whose access to conjugal togetherness is mediated by a militarized state.

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